Mustafa: finding unity and diversity is a community pursuit

Scenes from the 2018 Unity Festival and Walk in Tempe. Event took place Jan. 27. (Submitted photo)

On Jan. 27, the city of Scottsdale joined six other Valley municipalities for the Regional Unity Walk and Diversity Festival at Tempe Beach Park. Nearly 1,000 people participated, including members of the city of Scottsdale’s Human Relations Commission and Sharon Cini, the city’s diversity manager.

Nadia Mustafa

The goal was to walk for unity in our community to promote mutual respect and understanding — the very mission of the Human Relations Commission, which also advocates and promotes diversity, discourages prejudice and discrimination, and works toward cultural awareness and unity.

There is so much cultural richness in our Valley. It comes from the diversity that exists here, whether it’s race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age or socioeconomics.

When we value that diversity, and allow it to flourish, is when we truly become united, when we truly all reap the benefits of our individual uniqueness, together.

Diversity and unity are two concepts, but they go hand-in-hand.

They walk hand-in-hand, as one. When we walk, that walk — not just one day a year with a like-minded crowd at an event such as the Unity Walk — but every moment, wherever we are, whoever we’re with; when we choose to embrace each other’s differences instead of fearing them, that’s how we enrich our community, our humanity.

Sometimes it’s easy to blame others for divisiveness, or to become complacent about it as the “norm” in society. But change starts with every single one of us, in our one-on-one daily interactions, at places like the grocery store, or our children’s school. If we are kind to, and inviting of, each other, it will trickle up, it will seep in.

Editor’s note: Ms. Mustafa is vice chair of the Scottsdale Human Relations Commission

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